* Prices may differ from that shown
A few months ago after purchasing my Vax VCU-02 commercial upright vacuum cleaner, I kept on receiving emails from Vax UK and every so often get a password for any end of year or season sales that this company do. Many of my friends have wondered how I go about to get the password - but if you have ever registered with Vax - then you'll be automatically registered to receive any kind of future promotions that the company have including sales and special offers. It is Vax's way of "customer loyalty," even if it means the temptation of spending more money, but I do like to keep my ear to the ground and let the general public know of any up and coming sales either on review sites or at Moneysavingexpert.com.
Since Vax were taken over by the Chinese company in 1999, Techtronic Industries (TTI) (who have now just taken over Oreck), Vax continually churn out new vacuums every couple of months - it's a wonder the company don't lose track of the models they make, there are that many! The reason behind it all stems from TTI's other brands such as Hoover, Dirt Devil and Royal vacuums all based in the U.S (not to be confused with the Hoover Europe or Dirt Devil Europe who both operate under European holdings) and thus continue to re-badge different models for different markets. No wonder Vax appears to the best selling brand - without the Chinese involvement, the British company would only be surviving on their 3 in 1 tub vacuums by now.
When I saw this product online at the Vax website, I was keen to know more but then discovered that the product shortly disappeared. When I saw it for sale on Amazon UK, it looked a bit more tempting even if it has a bit more of an expensive price of £39-99. Generally whilst I may well admit to owning a SEBO vacuum cleaner (or many) I do require extra cleaning tools in my life that can be used with other machines such as Miele, Bosch and Numatic's Henry and the Vax Genuine Pro Cleaning Kit (Type 1) looks like a great piece of kit that holds a lot of promise due to the 4 tools you get for extra cleaning versatility. On account that a turbo brush or a dusting brush from a brand such as Dyson or Miele alone can cost a similar, average price without the postage and packing, £40 for 4 tools is quite a box of toys for me! However, if you have a vacuum cleaner in general that has an independent hose and handle, this kit can be used on the basis that it does come with an adaptor that allows 30mm to 32mm tool fittings, making this kit a bit more suitable for almost all brands of vacuum cleaner, though obviously if you don't have a hose with your vacuum cleaner, this tool kit won't be of any worth at all!
The tools are supplied in a thick cardboard tray with a separate storage bag, of which I've slipped the tray inside to keep all the tools together without falling out - and the bag is big enough to accept the holding tray.
Out of the box you will find four plastic grey and orange accent tools nestled in their own compartments. The plastic quality to the eye is somewhat smooth with some of the tools and invariably dimpled due to the process of the PVC plastic involved. For the most part the tools aren't flimsy but they are made of thin PVC plastic that does suggest some degree of longevity. In terms of movable parts, key features have been highlighted with Vax's signature orange colouring, so that buttons to unlock or pivot angles are all coloured in orange. So, the following tools are included:
Tool No. 1: The "Up Top Tool"
Basically this is a slide-onto-the crevice tool dusting brush that can be pivoted and locked in 3 position angle-neck for cleaning ceiling fans, or getting the dust off the top of cupboards. Although this brush and the dusting brush are narrow oval types, they appear to be great for cleaning dust off ceiling based lampshades and each pivot on each orange "circle" has three dots to indicate the angles available. The brushes are soft and really easy to clean with, which is a bit of a bonus and the brush itself is simple to adjust with just a slight grasp to pull down or upwards. However the neck of this tool isn't as well made as the other tools, able to scratch the plastic easily but it does offer a further locked 3-position angle adjuster on top of the additional 3-pivot angle at the top of the tool. Confusingly although nothing to do with Vax or their Chinese owners, Hoover in the UK have adapted this tool and included it with their top of the range "Globe" upright vacuum. Effectively if you have a lower "Globe" model, you could buy this kit to match the top of the range model!
In use, the "Up Top Tool," is a similar attachment that is currently being offered on the Hoover Globe bagless upright "top of the line" model. It allows extended reach to the tops of furniture to suck up dust or even for use around awkward corners flat to the floor. In my home, it is one of those saving grace extended tools that can lightly take off years of dust along the strips of fluorescent ceiling lights as well as gently going around cornices on ceilings. On ground level, I find it easy to get around the back of my network cables around the television and Freeview box, where dust seems to just hide in the most awkward of areas, making it easy to use a brush of this type as opposed to a moving brush where logically cables will get caught up and torn. It does however provide a far lighter experience when used compared to suspending tools from a metal-based set up where suction tubes are concerned.
Tool number 2; the "Extension Tube"
This tool acts like a long crevice tool by itself and by design with an inner telescopic height adjustable smaller crevice section at the top and where the first "up top tool" can be slid onto. At the end of the extension tube where you would put the handle of your vacuum cleaner or extension hose, the tube entrance has a 35mm sizing opening. When compacted down it offers 30cm length and when the height adjustable inner crevice tool is unlocked, the highest measurement totals approximately 47cm in length, great for getting into corners without having to use heavier suction tubes. All the plastic is lightweight, so it is effortless to lift compared to vacuums that have metal suction tubes and bulkier attachments for general dust pick up.
Tool number 3; the "Soft Dusting Brush"
This tool is very similar to the Up Top Tool but of fixed position and has a proper round entrance as opposed to a slip-onto-crevice type. If you need a proper dusting brush, here's one and then some because it has 2 pivot settings, at an angle and suitable for flat cleaning or angled cleaning. The soft bristles pick up the dirt effortlessly and as my photo shows, when used to suck dust off my Macbook screen; the bristles are long and soft enough to ensure no damage. Also better than the dust brush that comes with the Vax Mach Air as standard! The entrance to the tube has a 35mm sizing ideal for Bosch or Miele without the connector required here.
Tool number 4; the "Flat Upholstery Tool"
A mattress-cleaning tool - great for getting under car seats as well as cleaning mattresses in general. What a pity though that this tool doesn't accept Bosch or Miele handles even with the tool connector supplied. Seems to be an odd tool out of all the other ones that can fit other brands and there are no holes in this tool other than the front suction channels, making it tough to use on a mattress unless you loosen the power of your vacuum or adjust the air bleed valve at the top of your vacuum's handle, if you have a cylinder vac.
Tool number 5: The "Connector."
A 30mm to 32mm connector adapter is included for almost all brands of vacuum cleaner, though obviously if you don't have a hose with your vacuum cleaner, this tool kit won't be of any worth. As some of the tools already have a bigger diameter as standard, this connector adapter will be required to be used if your Vax, Numatic Henry/Hetty/James et al have a 32mm size.
The "Storage Bag" that you get is a Vax branded black and orange affair, black netted by design with a flat style thick hanger already supplied. It can hold all the tools in the bag WITH or without the thick cardboard tray inserted that holds all these tools in. A pull string toggle with push lock has also been fitted.
General Performance & Downsides
Throughout the process of usage, I feel there is one aspect becomes very clear early on with this kind of tool set for vacuums - all the tools fit on friction fit style, i.e. just a slight jamming on, or fit, twist and lock. For those with Miele or SEBO upright vacuums (Vax's tools here seem to fit the X series hose only, so you can use the X series on board hose or the extension hose) where you would have a press lock, Vax's tools here simply fit onto the handle by slipping them on and slightly tightening to ensure they are fitted on. There is no need to have a lock in place due to the style of friction fit tubes that other brands such as Electrolux, some Hoover models and Numatic supply with their vacuums.
The other aspect that I feel is very important to point out is that despite the generic colour of grey and that "Vax signature" of bright "Tango" like orange that has forever been a signature colour of the company's own products, the grey plastic doesn't half get scraped very easily, able to show up where the plastic is the least protected if it doesn't have a brush on the end. That said, the only downside to this tool set is the fact that it may well sit hanging on a door waiting to be used - but unless you are fastidious as I am about keeping the home clean - this isn't a tool kit of necessity unless you love to clean or wish that your old vacuum could come with a few more tools over the standard set you receive - or in some cases, don't!
Finally, if there is one other concern that I'm not too sure about in terms of longevity, it has to be that of the Vax storage bag intended for all the tools to store in. Made up by a combination of cheap black nylon with vented areas (why??) like a shoe bag, the tools fit very well either by using the existing cardboard tray that the tools are housed in out of the packaging box, or just use them all together. The biggest concern I have is that of the hanger that you get that has already been attached to the bag at the top via a rather cheap swab of thick "backpack" like Nylon. Despite a single toggle press lock fitted, the bag doesn't feel that well made despite the major brand label in the middle on black nylon before the net parts top and bottom.
Frankly in more recent recommendations I have made to others online, I've often recommended either buying a cheap supermarket backpack for all manner of vacuum cleaner tools. It is how I have stored mine over the years with outer pockets ideal for keeping fresh and clean filters and grommets. A toggle rope shoe bag or flat pack hanger style make up/flight bag is also ideal for these tools - and it may well be required as the quality of the bag to my mind isn't as well made as other rivals on the market - and could probably tear before the year is out.
Other Sorts & Final Thoughts
In general, the only other tool kit that has a slight universal fit for a few vacuums on the market bows down to Dyson, even though there are some tools that don't always fit. Both tool kits either by Vax and Dyson will mean you will have to measure the handle's main suction channel diameter from the vacuum's hose with a ruler before measuring up these tools for an exact fitting. Once you know your size of the machine you have, you may find that a new world can be opened up to you that doesn't necessarily justify buying the home brand of your machine if parts and other tools are available with the same sizing and cheaper pricing.
Whilst Vax have thought very carefully about this product in general, I would liked to have seen a mini turbo brush added for general consumers who may not have any idea that their old vacuum can take a turbo brush. For those looking for one, look no further than Wilko's Mini Turbo brush at Wilko/Wilkinsons stores. As long as your machine has a hose AND a rigid handle where you would normally attach the smaller cleaning attachments, mostly all vacuums can use a mini turbo brush for stair cleaning, pet hair pick up or simply just taking up hair or deep trodden dirt in awkward areas from velour to carpet and other soft textures. It is a pity that for all that you do get some versatile tools, the mattress-cleaning tool doesn't fit and begs the question to why Vax bothered!
Generally whilst all of these tools can be used with most major brands it is always best to check the size of the hose or the handle for the best fitment. For the price, it's a good deal and the Vax Pro Cleaning Kit does have a befitting name for general use - pity the products aren't a pro where quality is concerned, but that's a small price to pay for a reasonable kit of versatile cleaning tools for most vacuums - especially if the smaller cleaning tools that are provided are miserly and not very good to use, or if the tubes on your vacuum are just too heavy to pivot safely for above the floor cleaning. Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2013.